Updated: Aug 21, 2021
Where has the glorious sunshine gone? Fear not! Here are my top ten rainy-day play ideas!
Build boats using bits from the recycling and test them in puddles or in the bath if you'd prefer to stay warm! Cutting, sticking, peeling, ripping and precision placement are brilliant for working those fine motor muscles.
Rain painting - add some blobs of paint to some card or sturdy paper and then leave it out in the rain - what happens? Don't leave it outside for too long, or the paper might rip! A top tip is to use masking tape to tape the paper to a plastic tray, leaving it taped while it dries too will help to minimise wrinklage.
Make a rain gauge using an empty jar and a sharpie, or cut an old plastic bottle in half. This can be a great STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) activity. Use a rule to mark measuring lines onto the jar, can your child predict how much rain will fall over the course of an hour, day or even a week?
Embrace the cold to get snuggly, create a hygge environment by drawing the curtains, lighting some candles (supervision required), gathering blankets and cushions and reading together whilst listening to the rain pitter patter on the window.
Experiment with some stop motion film making. I'll admit that this is something I had hope to do with Big during lockdown, however we didn't get round to it so it's in my locker for a rainy day! There are loads of free apps that you can use, we have the one called Stop Motion and it's incredibly easy to use. Suitable for +3yrs, I would say.
Make a rain stick using an old cardboard tube, and loosely crumple some paper to put inside (this is to stop the contents just falling from one side to another too quickly). Seal off one end of the tube and then add dry rice or lentils before sealing off the other end. Slowly turn the rain stick one way and another and listen out for the sound of the falling rice - does it sound like rain?
Go on a puddle hunt. Yep, sometimes we all need a good dose of fresh air, regardless of the weather! Don the wellies and waterproofs, make a flask of hot chocolate and set out on a Wet Welly Walk. Find (and jump in) as many puddles as you can! Come home to a nice warm bath!
Make a kite - this is especially good if it's windy outside too. A homemade kite won't fly well in the rain, but it's a good project to do on a rainy day, to test out another. Crafting passes the time and can be another good STEM activity involving lots of investigating, problem solving and trial and error.
Paint portraits of people as if they've been caught in the rain, or paint a normal portrait of them and leave the painting outside in the rain as per number 2. Or do both! Which technique worked best and which came out the most funny?
Maybe you're looking for a nice mindful activity? Water transfer using a sponge is exactly that AND it's a good activity for even the tiny ones of the household (suitable from sitting onwards). You can do variations of this but give your child two bowls (sit them on the floor on a towel, or even better for mess-stress in the bath!). One bowl will have some warm water in and the other is empty, show your child how you can use a sponge to transfer water from the full bowl, to the empty bow. They will love this, it's so simple but it's working so many skills from grasping, to coordination, to arm and core strength to understanding capacity.
Happy Playing! Don't forget, a rainy day need not be a wash out!